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Anger Management for Children: How to Most Effectively Help Children with Anger Issue

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  • Anger Management for Children: How to Most Effectively Help Children with Anger Issue

    Children have many of the same feelings as adults, one of them being anger. Of course, children have different ways of expressing anger than adults do, but learning how to manage and release their anger is just as important.

    If you are a parent or a teacher, you know that children learn by watching you. You can help to instill healthy anger management techniques into the children around you now, so they can grow up to be happy, productive adults.

    Why do Children Get Angry, and How do They Express It?

    Children get angry for many of the same reasons as adults; they're hurt, something didn't go their way, somebody was mean to them, etc.

    However, the key reasons why children have anger, as well as how they express that anger, do change as they grow. Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence, a violence prevention program that targets kids aged 0-8, has broken down the different stages of anger that kids face:

    Babies: Babies get angry because of basic needs (they're hungry, sick or scared). An angry baby will cry and move their arms and legs around in an effort to attract their parent to help them.

    Toddlers: Toddlers get angry and frustrated when they can't do something they want to. They often show their anger in the only way they know how to at this point (since their vocabulary is limited); by throwing a tantrum.

    Children aged 3-5: Children in this age group begin to understand more about the world around them, and as such get angry about things others say and do. They'll often express their anger toward an individual person now, usually by hitting or using threatening words.

    Children aged 6-8: By this age, children understand other's point of view and feelings, and they long to be accepted by their peers. They can get angry because of the actions of their peers (being rejected, ignored, teased or pushed), their parents (asking them to do something they don't want to) and more. However, kids at this age and up should be able to control their anger and try to resolve the problem, rather than lashing out.

    Recognizing Anger in Your Child

    Anger management for children is something every parent in today's world should be familiar with. Kids are exposed to increasing amounts of violence and stress not only on the TV but also in the real world. They're also facing increased pressures to perform well in school and keep up with their peers both academically and socially.

    For some children, getting angry is their way of releasing stress and anxiety about the challenges in their life. The first step in helping your child to manage his or her anger is recognizing the many forms it can take. These include:
    • Verbal aggression (yelling, saying mean things, etc.)
    • Physical aggression (hitting, kicking, pushing)
    • Defending their self-esteem, possessions, etc. either aggressively or passively
    • Using the 'silent treatment'
    • Giving up on something (like their homework, chores, etc.)
    • Crying or pouting
    • Avoiding certain situations or people (like ignoring their classmates at school) or trying to run away
    • 'Tattling' about something to a teacher or adult

    How to Help Your Child Manage Anger

    When it comes to anger management in children, the sooner you start, the better. This is because the primary way that kids learn how to express their emotions, including anger, is by watching you, their parents.

    It is therefore extremely important that you are dealing with anger in a healthy way, using open communication, discussions and problem-solving skills rather than physical violence, yelling or verbal assaults.

    If you feel you need some help in being a positive anger-management role model for your child, The Sedona Method can help. The Method consists of a series of simple questions that you ask yourself anytime you feel anger coming on. It teaches you how to tap into your natural ability to release negative emotions, like anger, anxiety, rage and more, so you can feel calm and at peace even during tense situations.

    Then, when it comes to helping your children with anger management, they will already be familiar with the concept of releasing.

    "Young children release naturally," says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. "In fact we would all be releasing all the time if it had not been trained out of us."

    The good news is that even if you haven't been the best role model so far, you can help yourself and your child to let go of anger as soon as you begin applying The Sedona Method principles. Best of all, no child is too young or too old to start!

    "The best way to teach a child how to release is by example. Children follow how you are and what you do, not what you say. So the more you live with releasing in your life the more your children will embrace it too," Dwoskin says.

    "There is no age that is too young to work with releasing because it is so natural for children and adults. The best way to work with young children, if you are going to teach them directly, is by making the process of releasing and letting go into a fun game you can play together. Older children and young adults can easily learn the Method from a seminar, book or audio program," he continues.

    Along with being a positive anger-management role model, and using The Sedona Method whenever you need it, there are other key techniques you can share with your child to help him or her manage anger in a healthy, positive way. These include:
    • Let your child know that it's OK to be angry.
    • Encourage open lines of communication. Ask him what is wrong and encourage him to talk about it.
    • Tell your child that while it's OK to be angry, it's not OK to hurt someone (physically or emotionally) or break things because of it.
    • Talk to your child about his anger warning signs (clenched fists, face getting flushed, breathing faster, etc.). Let him know that these are signs it's time to calm down and release.
    • Give your child tools to help him feel calm, including releasing with The Sedona Method, taking deep, slow breaths, counting to 10 and using positive statements like 'It's OK, I can get through this.'
    • Help your child to learn problem-solving skills. This will help him to come up with alternatives to anger or violence in tough situations.
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